Please don’t kill deer, Elkford. The impending cull is a disturbing about-face from the admirable declaration on your town’s website that “Elkford remains a place where nature prevails – and humanity borrows a bit of space.”
Your committee has worked hard and they’ve followed the advice
given in the Urban Ungulate Conflict Analysis written. The town
thinks it has an effective solution to resolve conflict between
citizens and deer. However, the advice was flawed and the solution will not work.
There is no biology or wildlife science involved in the decision
to undertake lethal population control. In fact, it appears
that mule deer numbers in SE BC are in troubling decline and the only
places with stable populations are towns. No matter how many
deer are seen in un-scientific counts, there is no over-population.
In some of our communities, such as Fernie and Grand Forks, it
appears populations in town are also decreasing.
We all have natural habitat within and just beyond our
boundaries. Ungulates are transient and will continue to
migrate in and out of town after culling. In every jurisdiction
that culls, it is ongoing and may become an “annual culling
program” as it is in Helena, MT, the model for the BC report.
Kimberley is talking about culling again – after 100 deer were
killed just 2 years ago. The cost increases too – rising from
$300 to $625 per deer in Cranbrook in their controversial, secretive
program last spring.
BC SPCA wrote recently, “the proposed cull actions are not a
scientifically sound or sustainable solution.” And further, “an
indiscriminate cull like that conducted in Cranbrook which neglects
considerations for gender and age class is unethical and contrary to
generally accepted principles of wildlife management.”
They said communities “must
aim to address the cause of the deer habituation, rather than opt for
a convenient, short-term action that will divide its’ citizens."
The “harvest” of deer in Elkford is not ethical hunting nor is
it a cost-effective way to provide meat to food banks. The Lake
Windermere Rod and Gun Club code of ethics states they have “a deep
respect for the game they pursue” and that they will harvest game
only in “fair chase”. Last spring, deer meat cost Cranbrook
citizens $13 per pound.
the emotional and social impact of slaughter hurts communities. While
we are decorating with artificial deer and singing about Rudolph –
council plans a slaughter. The brutal killing method was never devised
for wildlife and is considered in-humane outside slaughterhouses.
please be true to your theme. With compassion, tolerance and patience
you will prove your willingness to share the “bit of space” that is
crucial to the wildlife.